There are two main types of breast cancer: Ductal Carcinoma and Lobular Carcinoma.

Ductal is the most common type of breast cancer; it starts in the cells that line the milk ducts in the breast, which are the cells that move milk from the breast to the nipple. Lobular is less common; it starts in the lobules, glands in the breast that produce milk.

There are several other less common types of breast cancer. For example, inflammatory breast cancer is cancer in which the breast becomes swollen because the cancer has spread to the skin of the breast. In this type of cancer, breast lumps may not be present.

Signs and Symptoms
Breast cancer in its early stages does not usually produce obvious symptoms. Since there are few signs of breast cancer early on, it is important to do monthly breast exams as well as breast exams from a doctor.

Once the breast cancer does start to grow, there are signs that indicate you could have breast cancer. However, some of these symptoms could be a result of something non-cancerous, so it’s important to see a doctor if you experience any of these breast cancer signs:
– Breast lumps or lump near the arm pit
– Fluid coming from the nipple
– Change in the size, shape or feel of breast or nipple

There are many different tests and analyses that a doctor can do to determine if you have breast cancer, whether it is non-invasive or invasive. Some breast cancer tests include:
Breast Cancer Screening: This is when a doctor looks for breast cancer before a person has even
experienced any symptoms of breast cancer. Doing a breast cancer screening helps to find cancer at an early stage, which makes the breast cancer treatment much easier.
Mammography: A mammogram, or x-ray of the breast, is taken to help identify a breast lump. Screening mammograms can be given to women who do not show signs of breast cancer. Diagnostic mammograms are given to women who suspect they have a lump in the breast.
Breast MRI: Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans help to identify breast lumps and assess any
abnormal areas seen on a mammogram. They are not used for routine breast screenings, though breast cancer research is being conducted to determine if an MRI is valuable for screening young women at a high risk for breast cancer

Breast Cancer statistics report that over the course of a lifetime, about 1 in 8 women can expect to develop breast cancer. However, breast cancer risk for each individual may be higher or lower than that. Risk factors of breast cancer are determined by many different factors such as lifestyle, family history, age, reproductive history, environment and more.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your family doctor.

Article Courtesy of Bev Ramsey, CFM / Fitter of Mastectomy & Compression at Byrd-Watson Medical Downtown